In recent years, the historiography on the Risorgimento has undergone a profound renewal. Students of the state-building process have tapped new sources and updated historical categories, in close connection with international debates on revolutions and conflicts Unlike states in the central and northern Peninsula, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in fact lived through a long period of revolution and conflict, both before and after the Plebiscite. Although the patriots’ liberal and constitutional platform was the same, the Bourbon state represented an alternative model and a kind of Nemesis of the pan-Italian national project. The balance of the system was maintained until the spring of 1860, when the most dangerous of internal enemies, Sicily, started a fresh insurrection which compelled the new king and the Neapolitan government to engage in repressive action and to strive for territorial control. These facts have been construed by traditional historiography as minor episodes, a kind of prelude to Garibaldi’s exploit; but a rich and largely unpublished documentation points to an opposite direction, that is to the monarchy of Francis II as a champion of Antirisorgimento. The events of April 1860 no longer appear as a transitional phase towards a national war, but as the last, still victorious Bourbon counter-revolution.
Keywords: Bourbon monarchy, Francis II, counter-revolution, Sicily, civil war, Antirisorgimento.